31 Aug 2011

Man charged with theft of military medals

8:59 pm on 31 August 2011

A man has appeared in court charged with the theft of more than 800 military medals from the National Army Museum in Waiouru.

Keith Davies appeared in the Wellington District Court on Wednesday facing 18 charges.

The Queensland-based 57-year-old was arrested at Wellington Airport in the afternoon after flying to New Zealand voluntarily.

It follows an investigation by the Central District police for more than a year with the assistance of Australian Federal Police.

Mr Davies is charged with the theft of 395 medal groups, obtaining property by deception, false accounting, and unlawfully exporting New Zealand antiquities.

The medal groups are made up of 843 individual medals with an estimated value of $256,000.

Police say the thefts are believed to have taken place between 1995 and 2002. They are not linked to previous incidents of theft at the museum, or involve any current museum staff.

The court denied Mr Davies name suppression and released him on bail after he surrendered his passport. He will reappear in court on 22 September.